Board of Directors Regular Meeting Agenda


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Meeting Date: 03/22/2018  

Receive, consider and act upon a presentation on Request for Proposals for an Adventure Course at Rob Fleming Park (C-2017-0533);
The Woodlands Township 2018 Capital Improvement Budget allocated $949,900 for improvements to the Recreation Center at Rob Fleming Park which is to fund the development of an adventure course, playground, dog park and field lights. To date, $70,000 has been allocated for the dog park and $52,000 has been spent on the field lights. The anticipated expense for this RFP for the design phase or the adventure course is $31,000, which will leave  $796,900 for the construction and installation of the course and related support structures and the playground.
In the 2018 Adopted Budget, the Township Board of Directors authorized the development of additional amenities at The Recreation Center at Rob Fleming Park. The additional improvements included: an adventure course, a dog park, field lights and a playground. In preparation for the adventure course project, staff contacted  various adventure course operators, builders and designers to understand the adventure course business, operations, design and various construction methods.  A recommendation consistently made was to retain a course designer so that when an Invitation for Bids is issued all bidders/ course builders are bidding on the same  specifications and course design, as opposed to issuing a RFP/B for a design/build approach.  The RFP/B for an adventure course has been found to be more difficult in being able to have an “apples to apples” comparison on price, as various elements may or may not be included in one firm's design versus another firm's design.
The objective of the Adventure Course Design RFP/Q (Attachment A) was to identify an individual and/or company to develop  the design for the adventure course which will be located on the property at The Recreation Center at Rob Fleming Park. The final design, once approved by the Board of Directors, would be developed into construction drawings used to solicit bids for the construction of the course so that all bids are based on the same specifications and drawings. Note that the adventure course design specifications will be based on the ANSI/ACCT 03-2016 Challenge Courses and Canopy/Zip Line Tours Standards. The standards will be utilized as the guideline for the design, performance, installation, operation, maintenance, and auditing of the aerial adventure course.

In addition, if the Board approves a course design and authorizes an Invitation to Bid to construct the course, an inspector knowledgeable and experienced with Aerial Adventure Courses, and ANSI/ASTM/ACCT standards will be used for the commissioning of the park, and conducting required testing and auditing of the park on a regular basis. The inspector's qualifications will be reviewed by the Township insurer - TMLIRP. 

Overall goals for the adventure design include:
  • Develop an attractive course that users will frequent multiple times resulting in a course that will provide a positive return on investment.
  • Provide a unique course design that can be used for recreation by residents, non-residents and tourists to The Woodlands.
  • Maximize the use of the existing natural beauty of the area to provide a positive natural experience by adventure course users.
  • Create a course that leverages the existing infrastructure (parking, Recreation Center Building, Tree Houses, Tee-Pee’s etc.) with a reduced environmental footprint (minimal tree removal).
  • Meet and/or exceed the standards outlined in ANSI/ACCT 03-2016 Challenge Courses and Canopy/Zip Line Tours Standards.
The RFP/Q was sent to all vendors listed in the Association for Challenge Course Technology’s (ACCT) vendor guide. ACCT is the professional organization that sets design and safety standards throughout this industry.  The deadline for submitting an RFP/Q was January 12, 2018. Five (5) vendors submitted proposals.  An evaluation team of five (5) staff members scored the proposals on the following basis:
  • Project Team - 10%- Management, team organization and skill of experience of key team.
  • Prior Experience - 25%- Experience of key staff, experience with developing adventure courses for parks, demonstrated knowledge and/or previous experience with operating adventure courses and/or experience with course design in Houston/Texas.
  •  Project Approach - 20% Project approach and understanding of objectives and constraints
  • References - 5%
  • Fee 40%-- The proposed fee for the work outlined in the scope 
The results of the evaluation team review of the submitted proposals are summarized below and a Decision Matrix is attached (Attachment B):
  • Signature Research           3.58
  • Experimental Systems      3.48
  • Adventure Solutions         3.17
  • Alpine Towers                    3.07
  • Eurobungy                          1.53
After the initial scoring it was decided to interview the top two firms (Signature Research & Experimental Systems)  and Eurobungy.  While Eurobungy received the lowest scoring proposal they do have a local presence (Magnolia, Texas) which lead the team to take advantage of their close proximity which was perceived to perhaps have additional value to the overall project.  The same team who conducted the initial review, conducted the interviews. Key points of each are provided below for review:
  • Signature Research-                       3.58
    • ACCT Preferred Vendor Member (PVM)
    • Well versed in ACCT standards and accreditation
    • Positive references in the public park sector
    • Design elements reflect initial vision
    • $31,000: Design = $25,000 base + $6,000 for stamped construction set
  • Experimental Systems-                  3.475
    • ACCT Preferred Vendor Member (PVM)
    • Well versed in ACCT standards and accreditation
    • Working with Rope Work from Austin to provide a “local” presence
    • Positive references in the public park sector
    • Design elements reflect initial vision
    • $52,600:  Design = $32,600 base + $20,000 for stamped construction set
  • Eurobungy                                         1.53
    • Uses Experimental Systems to meet ACCT Standards
    • Uses a “hex” system that may not fit the environment/site
    • Local presence, through a sub contractor
    • Limited references in the public park sector
    • $19,500:  No stamped construction set fee provided
After conducting the interviews, Signature Research is recommended for the award of bid. 
It is recommended accept the RFP/Q submitted by Signature Research for the design of the adventure course at The Recreation Center at Rob Fleming Park and authorize the President/General Manager to execute a design services agreement  in connection therewith.
Attachment A - RFP for Adventure Course Design
Attachment B - Adventure Course Decision Matrix


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